Deadline: March 21, 2021

Applications are open for the MIT Technology Review COVID Inequality Fellowship 2021. The Fellowship supports journalism focused on the skewed consequences of COVID-19—and how to change them.

Background

Early in the pandemic, some headlines argued that COVID-19 was the great equalizer—because anyone, no matter their circumstance, could catch it. In reality, it was clear that the virus was affecting some groups of Americans in disproportionate, devastating ways.

Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Indigenous communities, and other people of color have been affected the most, and are dying at much higher rates. Incarcerated people have been left unprotected, and those in poverty have been among the hardest hit. School children from poorer backgrounds are suffering the biggest educational setbacks, with lifelong repercussions.

We know many of the reasons, including frontline jobs that expose workers to the virus, economic stresses, unstable housing and unequal health care that leads to worse outcomes. But there’s much more to learn, and much more to do about it.

To help explore these issues and help people’s stories get told, MIT Technology Review has joined with the Heising Simons Foundation to create five MIT Technology Review COVID Inequality Fellowships.

Fellowship

  • Each fellowship provides up to $7,500 of financial support to help journalists report and produce stories about COVID inequality—and how it’s being tackled—in under-covered communities in the US.

Eligibility

They are offering two kinds of fellowship:

  • Freelancer fellowships: Apply for this if you’re an independent journalist who is not already attached to a specific publication. You may come from one of the affected communities you plan to report on, or you may know of an important story about a group you have gotten to know well.
  • Newsroom fellows: Apply for this if you’re a staff journalist working with a specific outlet, who is looking for extra support to follow up on a story that is important to you and the readers you serve.

If you have journalistic experience, and you want to tell stories about the way COVID is affecting people—and what’s being done about it—they encourage you to apply.

Note:

  • These fellowships are for the US-only.
  • Fellows must be legally able to work in the United States.
  • Stories must be designed for text: although video and audio can be part of the output, your story will need to center around written journalism, which can include news reporting, narratives, or data.
  • Projects do not have a minimum timescale, but drafts must be completed by the end of 2021. All stories will be subject to editing, fact-checking, and legal review.

Application

Here are some of the key things they’ll require in the first stage of the application process.

  • A well-written outline of your story or project of no more than 750 words. They are looking for a compelling pitch that gives an overview of the people, places, information, and issues that you will be bringing into the spotlight.
  • A reporting plan that includes:
    • a proposed timeline and
    • an explanation of how you plan to report in a COVID-safe manner on the communities you are focused on. Speed is not a factor in their decision, but it’s good to know how you plan to carry out the task of researching, reporting, and producing your story.
  • A written personal statement (maximum 500 words) telling them about your prior work, relevant experiences and your connection to the community you’re proposing to cover.
  • Three samples of original work. If this is not freely available online (for example, it is behind a paywall, or only available in print) please provide PDF files.
  • Newsroom fellowship applicants will be required to submit a letterhead statement confirming that you have the support of your publication.

Shortlisted applicants will be asked to provide more information, including a breakdown of how they’d spend the fellowship award, answer a questionnaire about the risks their project faces, and supply two letters of recommendation.

The final deadline for applications is Sunday March 21, 2021. Selected fellows will be announced in early April 2021.

Click here to apply

For more information, visit MIT Technology Review.

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